World

Bangladesh arrests cleric over fatwa against women farming

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A Muslim cleric accused of issuing a fatwa banning women from working on farms has been arrested in Bangladesh, police said on Dec. 13. DHAKA Hurriyet The imam and five mosque officials face charges after their announcement prompted locals in the western town of Kumarkhali to try and prevent women from going to work in the fields. “They took the decision after prayers on Dec. 8, banning women from going out of their homes,” local police chief Abdul Khaleque told ... Read More »

Finding the Right Role for the G5 Sahel Joint Force

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Launched in February 2017, the G5 Sahel joint force is an experiment in a region crowded by sometimes-competing military and diplomatic initiatives. Weapons and money will not be enough to resolve the Sahel’s crises, so the force must win the trust and support of both local populations and regional powers. ICG What’s the issue? Ten months after the Sahel’s five countries set up the G5 Sahel joint force (FC-G5S) as a means of settling the armed conflicts within the region, multiple ... Read More »

Caspian Sea: Iran is getting ready to accept the realities

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For more than two decades Iran has been insisting on having an equal share of the Caspian Sea along with other littoral states (Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan). Bahman Aghai Diba Payvand Even when Iran was talking about the principle of equity in the international law, it was intended to be at least twenty percent of the Caspian Sea. But now, right before the draft convention on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea is presented to the summit conference ... Read More »

Most Australians support a federal anti-corruption commission: research

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Most Australians want the government to create a federal anti-corruption commission, make its national agencies more independent and set four-year parliamentary terms, according to a new report led by one of the nation’s most respected former public… Doug Dingwall The Canberra Times The findings come as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for the first time suggested he was prepared to consider creating a federal anti-corruption watchdog, but said he was not yet persuaded the case had been made for such a… While the discussion paper released ... Read More »

Democracy in meltdown as East Timorese PM denounces ‘coup’

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The prime minister of East Timor is refusing to allow parliament to reconvene because he will face a vote of no confidence. What next? Professor Damien Kingsbury. Crikey international affairs commentator As East Timor went to elections this year, the country was the most peaceful and united it had been in its short history. The CNRT-Fretilin government of national inclusion had functioned well, it appeared that the ‘Generation of ‘75’ exemplified by Xanana Gusmao, was stepping back from politics and, with the ... Read More »

UNGA Adopts Resolutions on Oceans

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6 December 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions that aim to advance implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and support the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Catherine Benson Wahlén SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD Member States also discussed an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS, and other documents related to the law of the sea.   A ... Read More »

Three reasons Australians should be concerned that NGOs’ voices are not being heard

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A healthy democracy is built on the premise that public debate should allow for many and diverse voices to be heard as part of the contest for ideas that informs policymaking. Andrea Carson Sarah Maddison If Australians want this to be the case, the current state of play offers three reasons for concern. The Conversation NGOs are self-silencing The first is the finding in our research, released today, that Australian NGOs are self-silencing. Our data show that many not-for-profit organisations, ... Read More »

The Arctic – The Arctic Russia’s plan for the world’s newest ocean

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There’s a new ocean at the top of our globe In just the past three decades, global warming has shrunk the size of the Arctic Ocean’s summer ice by half. Vox The region is now more accessible than it’s been in 1,000 years, and governments around the world have taken notice. The melting of the Arctic has grave implications for global weather patterns and rising sea levels, and most of the world sees it as a looming disaster. But for ... Read More »

What Putin Really Wants

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Russia’s strongman president has many Americans convinced of his manipulative genius He’s really just a gambler who won big. Julia Ioffe The Atlantic I. The Hack The large, sunny room at Volgograd State University smelled like its contents: 45 college students, all but one of them male, hunched over keyboards, whispering and quietly clacking away among empty cans of Juicy energy drink.“It looks like they’re just picking at their screens, but the battle is intense,” Victor Minin said as we ... Read More »

LOOK | Itu Aba island-or-rock argument figures in Jardeleza’s treason, disloyalty tag on Sereno

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MANILA – Associate Supreme Court Justice Francis Jardeleza on Monday accused Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno of committing “disloyalty to the republic” and “acts of treason” regarding her statements on the West Philippine Sea issue when she was objecting in 2014 to his nomination as… Camille A. Aguinaldo InterAksyon “Ako ay pinaratangan na disloyal o nanghudas sa bayan natin. Ang sa pananaw ko po, (I was branded disloyal and having played a Judas on our country) but in my view, ... Read More »

World trade is going through a seismic shift — and nobody knows how it will end up

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NAFTA, Brexit, countries around the world are redefining their trade relations, bringing uncertainty the global economy does not need Special to Financial Post Gordon Isfeld OTTAWA — In the gaps between NAFTA negotiations and U.S.-Canada interest-rate ponderings, Brexit remains a painfully present problem that could fill any economic void with even greater global uncertainty. At the same time, the slow slog of talks on the make-up of a new free-trade pact between North America’s three economies seems to have lost some of its direction ... Read More »

Huntington’s breakthrough may stop disease

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The defect that causes the neurodegenerative disease Huntington’s has been corrected in patients for the first time, the BBC has learned. An experimental drug, injected into spinal fluid, safely lowered levels of toxic proteins in the brain. The research team, at University College London, say there is now hope the deadly disease can be stopped. Experts say it could be the biggest breakthrough in neurodegenerative diseases for 50 years. Huntington’s is one of the most devastating diseases. Some patients described it ... Read More »

Australia Seeks New Gag Laws That Could See Journalists And Whistleblowers Jailed for 20 Years

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Organisations such as WikiLeaks and disclosures from whistleblowers like Edward Snowden appear to be the target Paul Farrell BuzzFeed  Australian government and intelligence whistleblowers – and potentially even journalists – may face up to 20 years in jail for disclosing classified information, under the most sweeping changes to the country’s secrecy laws since they were introduced. The Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a broad package of reforms aimed at curbing foreign interference from countries including China and Russia. ... Read More »

Government moves to curb modern slavery

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Slavery is the world’s second-biggest illicit market In the past, slaves were shackled in metal chains. Editorial Today, they are exploited in supply chains. The Sydney Morning Herald It might have been thought that slavery was a shameful but pretty much closed chapter of history. It’s not. It is the world’s second-biggest illicit market, behind drugs, with an estimated 45 million children, women and men treated as commodities (average price about $90). Forced labour generates an estimated $US150 billion  ($199b) ... Read More »

Sexual abuse survivors fear being ‘deserted’ after royal commission ends

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Advocates say commission’s closure will create ‘sense of loss’ and express concerns there will be insufficient support Melissa Davey The Guardian Survivors of sexual abuse and their advocates have spoken of their fears of being left in the lurch once the child abuse royal commission’s work officially draws to a close. On Friday the royal commissioners will deliver their final report to the governor general in Canberra, marking the end of their five-year inquiry into how abuse was able to ... Read More »

A confident and upbeat Putin goes on Mideast ‘victory’ tour

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Ρussian President Vladimir Putin declared “victory” in Syria during a surprise visit Monday to a military base there, then traveled to Egypt and Turkey, where he celebrated Moscow’s deepening ties with those key regional powers. Hamza Hendawi and Vladimir Isachenkov Associated Press Chicago Tribune The tour highlighted Russia’s expanded reach in the Middle East and the global clout of its leader, who announced last week he is seeking re-election for another six-year term in March. Speaking to Russian troops on ... Read More »